A very big thank-you to the many donors to Intrepid’s Peru Floods Appeal. Along with matching funds from Intrepid Travel, The Intrepid Foundation is very pleased to have raised AU$40,000 for the work of Plan in the Cuzco region.
A quick recap of events: This year’s rainy season led to devastating flooding and landslides in Peru. In the Cuzco region, rain falling since January 2010 caused 3 major rivers to burst their banks, several areas including Zurite were hit by landslides and an entire town in Quispicanchis province virtually disappeared. In the weeks following the initial disaster, intense rainfall led to further devastation, particularly in the Taray district. At least 27 people have died, more than 10,000 homes destroyed or seriously damaged leaving thousands homeless and there has been widespread destruction of infrastructure and crop loss.
If your Top 10 includes the world’s best off-the-beaten-track destinations, then you’ll understand why Southern Adventure – La Paz to Rio has made Intrepid’s list. As Intrepid Express reader Paul McMahon explains, Bolivia is one of those seeing-is-believing experiences…
“An enjoyable tingly feeling rises through my body as we begin to ascend above 3000m, altitude sickness can’t be that bad? Soon before us are the plains of the Uyuni salt lake and before I know it the landscape begins to distort size and matter. It is not until the random appearance of a small island filled with cacti that images are re-established on this bumpy ride.
Tracking with the San Bushmen in Namibia is on Intrepid’s Top 10 Real Life Experiences list. Which is no surprise when you read great travel tales like this one from Intrepid’s Jo Edgely…
“Have you ever seen the movie The Gods Must Be Crazy or read Wilbur Smith’s Blue Horizons? If so you will be a little familiar with the amazing San Bushman. The once nomadic tribe now mainly live in and around the Kalahari Desert, but originally the San used the whole of southern Africa as their hunting ground.
The San stole my heart with their friendly welcoming nature and amazing sense of humour. The sound of them talking in ‘clicks’ was something I really did think was fictional before I heard it with my own ears.
Some of the richest real life experiences revolve around food, and where better than Cambodia to combine flavourful local experiences with exotic regional dishes.
Cambodian cuisine is often described as a mixture of Thai and Vietnamese – but don’t tell that to a Cambodian. They believe their cuisine is in a class of its own, and they’re right!
Highlighting the delicious delights of Cambodian cuisine is non-profit organisation Friends-International. We are thrilled to announce the launch of their second cookbook From Spiders To Water Lilies, now available on-line. It features over 160 pages of mouth-watering traditional recipes, (one of which we share with you here), plus exquisite photography and inspiring stories from one of Asia’s most fascinating countries.
You’ve made many children and elephants in Thailand very happy! Thanks to everyone who joined in our Twitter and Facebook campaign to raise money for Thai charities impacted by the recent unrest in Bangkok. Since 21 May we got a great 458 ‘likes’ and re-tweets, so to show our appreciation Intrepid Travel is doubling the money raised and rounding it up to a cool $1000 (to be split between both charities).
Intrepid’s pledge was to donate $1 to selected Thai charities for every Twitter post re-tweet and for every person who selects that they ‘like’ Intrepid’s status update on Facebook. “We’re concerned that a lack of tourists means that these charities miss out on valuable donations that help them operate on a day-to-day basis,” said Eliza Anderson, spokesperson for Intrepid Travel. “We are praying for a peaceful resolution to the current situation but in the meantime are asking people to help ensure these charities continue to receive support.”
During the recent unrest in Thailand we caught up with our two Intrepid Foundation beneficiary charities, to see how they are faring: Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) and Baan Unrak Children’s Village.
Soraida Salwala, the Founder of FAE writes: “I went to Bangkok for FAE bank transactions but became stuck and unable to return. I had to rely on working by SMS and email, however I talked to Motala and Mosha via mobile phone. My staff had the speaker on and held the phone near them. They were surprised at first but became used to hearing my voice over that small object. Motala reaches her trunk and touches the phone. Mosha will have her trunk up in reply to my greetings “Sawasdee kha!”
Some books inspire us to seek out new adventures, while others make great reading while on the road. Intrepid Express reader Arapine Walker recommends a book that turned out to be her perfect travelling companion in Italy…
“In 2008 my 3 girlfriends and I travelled from New Zealand to Italy to celebrate the first of us turning 50 (the new 30 by the way!) Just before we left Auckland I bought a book that I could read on the long flight to Rome via Los Angeles & Frankfurt. I bought Patricia Grace’s book Tu about three brothers during the second world war. It took me a week or so to read, as of course there was so much going on for a first-timer in Italy, however it was absolutely the right book at the right time and place.
Dining in Croatia is a wonderfully relaxed experience, but don’t be fooled into thinking that they don’t take their food seriously.
Croatians are fabulous cooks and as Intrepid Express reader Karen Keenan discovered, you’ll feel so satisfied after a local meal that you won’t want to move a mussel…
If you’ve got a stomach for adventure and won’t let it put you off your own travels, here’s a great book for your backpack recommendation from Intrepid Twitter follower Bob Kane…
“The Darkest Jungle: The True Story of the Darien Expedition and America’s Ill-Fated Race to Connect the Seas.
Navy Lt. Isaac Strain’s 1854 expedition into the Darién Gap was one of the first to explore the remote, seductive jungle and, without question, one of the unluckiest. They were unable to obtain native guides. They didn’t carry enough provisions. Existing maps were a joke. Vampire bats drank their blood when they were sleeping. Worms hatched under their skin and starting eating their flesh.
There is something inspiring about following a path that is over 2000 years old, especially when that trail travels along the Great Wall. Intrepid’s Alison Mead took a wander along the iconic wall to get a different perspective of China…
“Our adventure started at the off-the-beaten-track village of Gubeikou, around 3 hours from Beijing. Accompanied by local guide Chen, complete with his t-shirt stating ‘feeling good’, our small group of six begin the steady climb over exposed ground to reach the wall.
Parts of the wall were completely ruined, other sections were overgrown, but all the way it was clear this was the mighty Great Wall of China. Round another corner, up over another tower and the views were spectacular, so much so that we forgot our weary feet and knees. And if we did remember our aches, Chen’s great story-telling quickly took our minds off any pain.